Using and Storing Pet Medicine

Storing Pet Medicine

Storing Pet Medicine

It may seem obvious, but the first thing to do before using any type of pet medicine for your cat is to read the instructions on the packaging carefully. If you have any doubts whatsoever, then do not hesitate to contact your veterinary practice for further advice, before using the product. After all, it is much better to be sure about the situation rather than make a mistake, which could prove to be harmful, maybe even fatal, for your pet.

Medicines for your pet must be used properly. It is very important that you do not reuse any medicines — such as ear drops — that are left over after a course of treatment.

Some owners prefer to give their cats medicine in liquid form. Make sure your cat’s head is not tilted too far back, or it may choke on the medicine.

Pet medicines come in many different forms, ranging from tablets and liquids to powders and lotions. It is important to use them as directed, so as to have the best chance of treating the problem successfully. Overdosing must also be avoided though, because this can be potentially more harmful than underdosing, in the case of a powerful drug.

Equally, it is vital to complete a course of treatment because otherwise, although your cat may appear to recover, it could relapse. In the case of antibiotics, this may then result in the bacteria responsible for the infection developing immunity to the drug, so that it will be harder to cure properly in the future.


Be sure to keep all drugs and pet medicines stored safely in the home, out of reach of children. Special storage conditions aren’t usually necessary, although in the case of some medicines, such as ophthalmic ointments, these may need to be stored in a fridge after opening. Be sure to wrap these in a plastic bag, and keep them away from direct contact with food. If there is any unused ointment left in the tube after the treatment is completed, dispose of this carefully, as it cannot be kept safely for future use. Most medicines are light sensitive, which is why they should be stored in the dark, and are supplied in tinted bottles.

  • Resistance to antibiotics is a problem in the case of longstanding ear infection, largely because owners cease treating their cats too early, before the microbes have been eliminated.
  • Antibiotics can only combat bacterial infections. They cannot be used to kill viruses, and few are effective on fungal diseases.
  • New types of medicine, called insect growth regulators (IGRs) can combat fleas by preventing the immature fleas from hatching successfully.

How should I keep my cat’s medications?

Set aside part of your medicine cupboard where you can keep the pills and potions cool and dry. Label everything clearly, so that nobody can confuse them with human medication.

What influences whether my vet gives me tablets for my cat or injects it himself?

It depends on how ill your pet is, as injections usually have quicker results than tablets. Tablets are necessary for longer term treatment and are often prescribed because they’re easier to give to a reluctant cat.

How can I tell if the pet medicine has expired?

Check the expiry date on the packaging or contact your vet for advice. Most treatments such as flea sprays remain effective for several years, if stored correctly.